‘Mediawatch hits nail on head’ says Kia Ora Gaza

5 Sep

Kia Ora Gaza media release

5 September 2010

Radio New Zealand’s Mediawatch programme today covered the stoush between George Galloway, founder of UK charity Viva Palestina, and TV3’s The Nation frontman Sean Plunket and executive producer Richard Harman.


On 15 August 2010, The Nation broadcast allegations about Mr Galloway and Viva Palestina which were afterwards described by the former British MP as “a collection of inaccuracies and downright lies, larded by overt bias”.

Among these allegations were claims that Mr Galloway had never met a dictator he didn’t like, that he is virulently anti-American and that Viva Palestina is all about the fall of the capitalist system.

Mr Galloway said: “Instead of defaming me behind my back Plunket could have put these wild allegations to my face. I invite him to do that now in a TV interview if he has the stomach for it.”

His request was curtly dismissed without explanation by the Nation’s Mr Harman, who emailed: “I can see no point in interviewing Mr Gallaway [sic].”

The Nation’s allegations had been made in the context of interviewing Kia Ora Gaza’s Roger Fowler, Captain of the six-person Kiwi Team setting out with an international aid convoy to Gaza on 18 September 2010.

Led by Viva Palestina, this 500-vehicle humanitarian convoy will be the biggest since World War II. It has attracted vitriolic attacks from supporters of the Israeli state which is inflicting an illegal collective punishment on Palestinians in Gaza.

Radio New Zealand’s Mediawatch presenter Jeremy Rose ended his programme today with these words:

“A George Galloway / Sean Plunket stoush seems like something of a missed opportunity. But, regardless, having decided not to take George Galloway up on his offer [of being interviewed by Sean Plunket] The Nation should either have verified what George Galloway has described as ‘downright lies’ about him, or acknowledged and corrected any mistake it did make.”

“Mediawatch has hit the nail on the head,” said Grant Morgan, co-organiser of Kia Ora Gaza. “If the makers of TV3’s The Nation cannot face up to an interview with George Galloway, they should at least verify their allegations and honestly admit all factual errors and evident bias.”

“We don’t want gutless gutter journalism in this country,” Mr Morgan said. “Mr Harman and his front man, Sean Plunket, should hang their heads in shame.”

The Mediawatch programme can be found at:

http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mwatch/mwatch-20100905-0900-Mediawatch_for_5_September_2010-048.mp3

The relevant section starts at 25 minutes into the programme.

Kia Ora Gaza’s two previous media releases on this subject are appended below, including George Galloway’s full statement.


APPENDIXES

Kia Ora Gaza media release

27 August 2010

A number of untrue allegations about George Galloway and Viva Palestina, the UK-based charity he founded, were made recently on TV3′s The Nation, fronted by Sean Plunket. These allegations were made in the context of Mr Plunket’s interview with Roger Fowler, Captain of Kia Ora Gaza’s six-person Kiwi Team to Gaza.

“I’m stunned that such a collection of inaccuracies and downright lies, larded by overt bias, can be broadcast in New Zealand,” responded Mr Galloway in a Kia Ora Gaza media release two days ago. “Instead of defaming me behind my back Plunket could have put these wild allegations to my face. I invite him to do that now in a TV interview if he has the stomach for it.”

But Mr Galloway’s request for a right of reply has fallen on deaf ears at The Nation programme.

The Nation is made for TV3 by Front Page Ltd, whose managing director and executive producer is Richard Harman.

In an email to Grant Morgan, co-organiser of Kia Ora Gaza, Mr Harman gave this curt dismissal: “Your email to TV3 has been passed to me. My company produces The Nation. I can see no point in interviewing Mr Gallaway [sic].”

Mr Galloway makes this reply to Mr Harman: “It says much for your journalistic accuracy that you can’t even spell my name correctly. Your presenter wasn’t just ill-informed but mendacious and utterly biased. Your refusal to allow any right of reply will be viewed as a tacit admission that you relish this.”

And Mr Morgan gives this response to the makers of The Nation: “When allegations made in the media are denied as false, any reputable journalist would allow a right of reply. Yet Richard Harman, the boss of The Nation programme, denies a right of reply to George Galloway. This is gutless gutter journalism. Mr Harman and his front man, Sean Plunket, should hang their heads in shame.


Kia Ora Gaza media release

25 August 2010

Roger Fowler of Kia Ora Gaza was interviewed by Sean Plunket during his TV3 show The Nation on 15 August 2010.

During this show, Mr Plunket made a number of references to George Galloway and Viva Palestina, the UK-based charity he founded.

In a statement sent to Kia Ora Gaza, Mr Galloway disputes what was said on Mr Plunket’s show.

Among the responses made by Mr Galloway are these:

“I’m stunned that such a collection of inaccuracies and downright lies, larded by overt bias, can be broadcast in New Zealand.”

“I’m not virulently anti-American [as claimed by Mr Plunket]… It’s their foreign policy I ‘virulently’ oppose.”

Mr Plunket’s allegation that Viva Palestina is “all about the fall of the capitalist system” is labelled by Mr Galloway as “piffle, poppycock and utterly preposterous”.

In response to Mr Plunket’s inference that the last Viva Palestina land convoy was turned away by Egypt, Mr Galloway states: “It successfully crossed into Gaza through Rafah after first a stand-off with Egyptian security forces and then an attack by them. The aid and vehicles were successfully delivered. Only coming out of Gaza was I seized and then deported.”

“Instead of defaming me behind my back Plunket could have put these wild allegations to my face. I invite him to do that now in a TV interview if he has the stomach for it.”

Kia Ora Gaza has already sent a copy of this media release to Mr Plunket, along with a covering note.

“I have told the TV3 interviewer that I hope he takes up Mr Galloway’s offer to put the facts straight,” said Grant Morgan, co-organiser of Kia Ora Gaza.

Mr Plunket has been provided with Mr Galloway’s contact email.

You can view Sean Plunket’s interview with Roger Fowler on TV3′s The Nation here.

The full text of Mr Galloway’s statement about Mr Plunket’s TV show is appended below.


Full text of Mr Galloway’s statement in response to Sean Plunket’s TV3 show The Nation on 15 August 2010

I’m stunned that such a collection of inaccuracies and downright lies, larded by overt bias, can be broadcast in New Zealand. Isn’t there a Kiwi equivalent of Ofcom?

The quote about dictators is an invention. Wherever it has been dragged from, these are not my words.

I’m not virulently anti-American. Indeed completely the opposite. I’m the great grandson of probably the only woman to emigrate from the US to Dundee in the 19th Century. I’m a massive US music fan – I have everything by Bob Dylan – I visit the country often and have loads of American friends. It’s their foreign policy I ‘virulently’ oppose.

Viva Palestina ‘is all about the fall of the capitalist system’!? Please. This is piffle, poppycock and utterly preposterous. Does this guy even do any research? These convoys are about breaking the illegal siege of Gaza and delivering aid which is banned by Israel and which human rights’ organisations throughout the world have condemned. David Cameron called it a prison camp. At least in prison you get three square meals a day.

Some no-doubt unpalatable facts, Sean Plunket. Hamas is the elected government of Palestine – the only elected government in the Arab Middle East. There is no international maritime blockade on Gaza, the blockade is solely and illegally imposed by Israel. Check with the UN on that. Israel banned – and continues to ban – most building materials as well as a wealth of everyday items like medical equipment, schoolbooks and pencils. The ban was only ‘relaxed’ after Israeli commandos illegally stormed the Mavi Marmara in an act of piracy in international waters and shot dead nine unarmed Turks. The storm of international condemnation and opprobrium forced Israel into this partial ‘relaxation’.

It’s untrue to say that our convoy – Viva Palestina 3 – was turned away by Egypt. It successfully crossed into Gaza through Rafah after first a stand-off with Egyptian security forces and then an attack by them. The aid and vehicles were successfully delivered. Only coming out of Gaza was I seized and then deported. As I said at the time, President Hosni Mubarak is a ludicrous, tin-pot dictator and ‘I’ve been thrown out of better joints than this’.

Viva Palestina 5 will set out on September 18 and we will then test whether Israel will allow through the vital supplies still denied to the beleaguered people of Gaza.

Instead of defaming me behind my back Plunket could have put these wild allegations to my face. I invite him to do that now in a TV interview if he has the stomach for it.

Best,

George Galloway

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